2019 Trends in Talent

The talent shortage we’ve experienced in recent years continues to deepen and we believe it will be here for the foreseeable future. To retain and attract new talent, organizations must continue to move beyond the former “talent is plentiful” mentality and adapt to this new reality. Here are some of the major talent trends we anticipate as we move into 2019:

Organizations will do more to assesses and then change corporate culture. Rather than assuming their organization’s culture is what leaders believe it to be, more companies will objectively measure their current culture, decide what they want their culture to be, and make the changes needed to strengthen and develop it. The use of assessments, already increasing, will continue to grow—with current employees as well as potential new hires. Many of our clients are using assessments in the hiring process and we expect expanded use for culture improvement and leadership development.

Salaries will continue to rise. This summer the Labor Department reported the employment-cost index rose 2.8% from the previous year, the strongest salary gain for workers in a decade. In our practice, we’ve seen much more dramatic increases in salaries and we expect these to continue as companies compete for the best talent. Those that can’t increase wages are continuously looking for ways to attract workers with more creative benefits.

Organizations will put more emphasis on their role as corporate citizens. The notion that it’s only millennials who want to work for a purpose-oriented organization is misguided—it’s something employees of all generations want. As a result, employers will take increased measures to improve their communities and contribute to issues they find important, but they’ll also do more to increase the livelihood of their own workers. Higher wages, flexible work schedules and creative benefits like on-site health care or paid parental leave contribute to a healthier and happier workforce. The Conscious Capitalism movement that has arrived in Cincinnati and programs like Cincinnati Works’ Workforce Connection is an example.

Efforts to engage employees will continue to accelerate. The number of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs rose this year to the highest level since 2001. This is due in part to the ease of finding new work as well as the increase in wages. To retain workers, we expect even more organizations to invest in leadership development and mentoring as well as coaching at all levels—including front-line workers. An investment in development and engagement beats the high cost of employee turnover.

Companies pay more attention to their employer brand. With so much online information from sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and even Facebook and Twitter, job seekers have plenty of ways to learn about an organization and its culture. In today’s candidate-driven marketplace, employers must work harder than ever to attract top talent, and that means thinking about every part of the HR process through a marketing lens. Why should an employee work for you? Are you monitoring your company’s online presence and actively posting content that showcases your culture? What is your candidate experience like? Even individuals who don’t land a job with your organization should go away feeling like they had a positive interaction. In many respects, employer branding is becoming more marketing and less HR-oriented.

 Here are a few other trends we’re keeping an eye on:

  • Resumes scanners are nothing new, but the latest technology promises faster and more accurate results. We’re watching, but for now, we still believe a human touch is best.
  • Employers who want to see a potential candidate’s skills in action are incorporating writing prompts, presentations, and other assessments into the hiring process. 
  • Traditional resumes won’t become entirely obsolete anytime soon, but we’re beginning to see them take a back seat to LinkedIn profiles.

Overall, many of the talent practices organizations followed just a few years ago aren’t as effective in today’s candidate-driven environment. Assessing current practices and adjusting to meet the needs of the changing talent market are critical to future success.

    Tom Gilman,

    Managing Partner and CEO


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